Emma’s list of people encountered

February 12, 2012 at 12:34 pm (diaries, history, introduction, people, research) (, , , )

A quick note to mention that the Dramatis Personae, drawn from Emma Smith‘s diaries, is now up. It’s a VERY preliminary listing, covering just the first few diaries; but if you recognize people, please don’t hesitate to contact me! Some I may have information on; others exist only as a name.

I’ve been lucky to have a few people ID’ed or at least given fuller names, by readers of Two Teens. This has been a GREAT help!

See, for instance: Rev. Daniell of Ramsgate and Mary Gosling’s Dramatis Personae S-Z

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Austen/Chute – more Byrne Jane Austen portrait news

January 18, 2012 at 7:17 pm (chutes of the vyne, diaries, history, jane austen, people, portraits and paintings) (, , , , , , )

After a visit to the Hampshire Record Office in Winchester, Ellie Bennett posted some interesting photos and thoughts on Reading Eliza Chute’s Regency-era diaries.

Not only will Two Teens readers see Eliza’s handwriting, you also get a taste of what the diaries holds for information, especially for the interaction between The Vyne and the various Austen households, Chawton included.

Enjoy!

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Regency Costume Fashion Plates

January 12, 2012 at 12:38 pm (entertainment, fashion, history, people, portraits and paintings, research) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Sabine — who’s excellent blog, Kleidungum1800, you just must check out! — has unearthed a terrific series of fashion plates on Flikr. I took a quick peep at just one – a collection of 99 photos (wow!) from 1803-1804, or, as the collection comes from the Bibliothèque des Arts Décoratifs, when dealing with those that are French  plates: from the Year 12. (Dear Napoleon!)

As you can see from the little screen shot (right), the plates include fashions for both men and women.

The page claims it’s “A Work In Progress” – and what work it all entails! Plans for the beginning uploads include fashions from 1800-1820, as well as the American Civil War period (c1855-64).

We owe a debt to user “Nuranar”. Thank you, Danke, Merci!

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I can see the Two Elizas (Eliza Chute & Eliza Gosling) being interested in this little number,
they did so love reading the Letters of Mme de Sévigné (en français)!

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Mary and Emma would have use for either of these beauties,
especially if the evening included one of Mrs Gosling’s balls

Read more about the “crush” at a Mrs. Gosling’s ball, c1816

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First Edition Jane Austen Novels

January 11, 2012 at 7:07 am (books, history, jane austen, people) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Readers of Two Teens in the Time Austen have probably come to realize that I *ADORE* anything that is “old” and “authentic” and “original”.

So a while back I S-E-A-R-C-H-E-D high and low for pages images (not text) or the early editions of Austen’s novels. I’m still searching for a couple of volumes. These multi-volumes for one title are a killer! So if anyone comes across the missing volumes do let me know…

In the meantime, enjoy the “originals”.

These can also be accessed by using the page link at the right –> Authentic Austen, Scott & Waldie. I like my Austen with a cup of tea; how about you??

Sense and Sensibility
(the first edition is missing vol. III though…; let’s hope all the pages are present in the others)

*1811 edition vol. I; vol. II; vol. III
*1833 Bentley edition (books.google.com)   (complete)

Pride and Prejudice
          *1813 edition vol. I; vol. II; vol. III   (vol. 2 & 3: complete)

Mansfield Park
          *1814 edition vol. I; vol. II; vol. III   (all: complete)
          *1816 (2nd) edition vol. I; vol. II; vol. III   (all: complete)

Emma
          *1816 edition vol. I; vol. II; vol. III   (all: complete)

Northanger Abbey & Persuasion
          *1818 edition vol. I (inc: biographical notice); vol. II; vol. III; vol. IV 
            (vol. 2 & 4: complete)

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Charlotte Frost: Sir William Knighton giveaway (contest)

January 8, 2012 at 5:04 am (books, news, people) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

 

Click on the above image to read more about entering this EXCITING giveaway: friend to Two Teens in the Time of Austen, author Charlotte Frost has written a wonderful guest post about her book Sir William Knighton: The Strange Career of a Regency Physician. Charlotte’s willing to answer questions, and commentors have an opportunity to win one of three copies of her Knighton biography! Jane Austen readers will recognize the world William Knighton inhabited: the court of the Prince Regent/King George IV. (Granted, the prince was not Austen’s favorite Royal…)

Be QUICK: The contest closes on 14th January. Open to “contestants” around the globe.

Charlotte Frost was lucky enough to do research in the Royal Archives, and Charlotte was twice “in conversation” here on this blog. Two Teens is indebted to her for a research trip she took to the Bodleian to photograph Fanny Smith’s sketchbooks. My “eyes” in Oxford! Charlotte’s biography on Knighton is a nice summation of a life few know about. Sir William Knighton was uncle-in-law to Fanny, and is mentioned several times in Richard Seymour’s diaries.

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Sunday morning update: I’ve had a look at the comments that are coming in – some great “dialogue” going on. Readers interested in the Regency era might appreciate the books being recommended. And, of course, I encourage people to comment & enter. Buy the book, if you don’t win (paperback or ebook formats available). I’ve read it!

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Henry Austen, Banker

January 7, 2012 at 10:06 am (books, history, jane austen, jasna, people) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Henry Austen, seen in this portrait later in life, after he took holy orders, was once a banker.

In the late 1990s, Clive Caplan wrote two biographical articles for Persuasions on Henry:

          • “Jane Austen’s Soldier Brother: The Military Career of Captain Henry Thomas Austen of the Oxfordshire Regiment of Militia, 1793-1801,” Persuasions, 18 (1996): 122-43.
          • “Jane Austen’s Banker Brother: Henry Thomas Austen of Austen & Co., 1801-1816,” Persuasions, 20 (1999): 68-90.

I am especially interested in obtaining information from the later publication:

In the Fall, Iris Lutz, JASNA president, spoke to our JASNA Vermont group Iris was speaking about the estates and homes in Austen’s life. Surprisingly, COTTESBROOKE came up. This was the property of the Langham family. (the link will take you to the Two Teens blog post about that talk and Henry Austen.)

The Langhams’ property figure in my research because of Langham Christie, who married Margaret Elizabeth Gosling; he eventually inherited Glyndebourne (yes, that Christie family…).

Of course all these bankers must have “known” each other — but I’ve never yet come up with definitive evidence of Henry Austen interacting in any way with the Goslings (Goslings & Sharpe) or the Curries (Currie & Co). I once posed the question to Maggie Lane, but the Gosling name was totally unfamiliar to her.

I joined JASNA only a handful of years ago; online databases that include Persuasions go back to 2000 — so just after all those juicy articles about Henry Austen. It is the online versions that the large library I have access to, the Bailey-Howe at UVM (the University of Vermont), has in its “collection.”

What’s a girl to do?

  • If any reader out there — a member of JASNA or just near a big library — can put a finger on the 1999 article, can you peruse it for me, or get me a copy (I know: it IS a lot of pages). {contact information is found on “the author” page}

FEB2012 update: Many thanks to Cathy Kawalek (of ArtsResearchNYC) and Kerri S. for helping to track down “Jane Austen’s Soldier Brother”.

MAR2012 update: Thanks — yet again! — to Cathy Kawalek of Arts Research NYC for the second part of Clive Caplan’s wonderful study of Henry Austen.

Reading about Henry’s life-struggles makes me realize yet again that what the Austen literature desparately needs is an all-encompassing AUSTEN FAMILY biography. Alas: no mention of other banking firms, which had been one slim hope I had held. Can’t wait for the Louisville AGM in a few years… for its focus is Living in Jane Austen’s World. I’d love to see some biographical studies – Yeah!

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Portrait Pricing in Regency England

January 3, 2012 at 10:37 am (jane austen, jasna, portraits and paintings) (, , , , , , , )

The end of my 2011 JASNA AGM paper, “A House Divided? How the Sister Arts Define the Dashwood Sisters,” briefly examined the discrepancy between the earnings of Musicians and Artists, in an effort to illustrate that — in keeping with their interests — Marianne Dashwood’s naming a competence of £2000 could only cause an outcry by Elinor for the sum to signify wealth to her.

In my research, with its attempts to track down portraits and miniatures mentioned in Smith&Gosling letters and diaries, it’s sometimes possible to place a price-paid upon a work: for original sums are sometimes recorded.

In the program Jane Austen: The Unseen Portrait? it is mentioned that 30 guineas might have been asked for a miniature, 300 guineas for an oil portrait. Surely, those are high-end amounts.

To illustrate:

In her 1820 diary, Emma mentions that she and elder sister Augusta go “with the Goslings to Sir Wm Beechey’s”.

Beechey’s account books, published in 1907, has a notation for payment on 26 March 1820: “Of Mrs. Gosling, for Mr. Robert Gosling (last half)… 26£ 5s 0d”

Earlier (and later) notations of payments are then found:

1817 –

1 April: “Of Mrs. Gosling (as half), for a half-length of her two daughters and three-quarter of her own…105£”

8 August: “Of Mrs. Gosling (as last payment), for the Miss Goslings, and three-quarter of Mr. W. Gosling…105£”

[Question: Was Charlotte’s own portrait given over to William Ellis, her eldest step-son? Or is there a payment missing?]

1818 –

21 April: “Of Mr. Gosling (first half)… 26£ 5s 0d”

[Question: Did Robert’s portrait really wait two years (until 1820) for payment? Mr Gosling should be William Gosling, the father; Mr W. Gosling, the eldest son William Ellis Gosling; Robert and Bennett Gosling the remaining two elder brothers]

1823 – Beechey’s prices have risen, a bit:

24 February: “Of Mrs. Gosling (as half), for Mrs. Bennett Gosling… 31 £ 10s 0d”

Even a rudimentary bit of math comes up with sums well under 300 guineas per picture. Typically, “half portraits” cost less than “three-quarter” lengths.

Sir William Beechey, having painted the Royals and been knighted in 1798, would not have been an unknown itinerant artist.

Blog readers who live in London, can visit the National Portrait Gallery and view the Sitters Book of artist Margaret Carpenter. One Carpenter-Wilkie Collins-Charles Dickens researcher did just that, and found that Mrs Carpenter received a mere 4£ 4s 0d from Dickens, “whether of him or someone in his family isn’t clear”. The same reader notes that Mrs Carpenter was “patronised by most of the more prominent personages”.

{note that readers reply on that website wondering if the sitter is the Charles Dickens — never thought about it: 1820, the sitter could be my Charles SCRACE Dickens!}

My intention here, is to bring forward the notion that not all portraits were made for engaged couples, or exceptionally pricey. Emma herself writes in an 1825 letter,

“Augusta has told me about Mary Gosling’s picture but I should really extremely like to pay for it and have it {my conclusion: Mamma was willing to pay; or else, Mary was offering her friend this, paying for it herself} – I am sure I could very well afford it for you know many expences are cut off this year & it would be a great treasure to me — I will write to Mary Gosling tomorrow–“

So family are not the only contenders for the purchase or the acquisition of a portrait: friends might also have received a memento!  But: As I’ve written before, there are so many pieces out there merely titled “Portrait of a Lady”… Some gift of Jane or Cassandra Austen to, say, Alethea Bigg, may be out there, yet never properly ID’ed.

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Enter Stage Right: Sir William Knighton

April 20, 2011 at 7:11 pm (books, news, people, research) (, , , , , , , , )

We are in conversation (part II) with biographer Charlotte Frost, about her new book Sir William Knighton: The Strange Career of a Regency Physician:

[NB: read part 1]

Q: Did you hope to find a certain story in Knighton’s life? Did what you uncover answer that initial thought, or were you constantly uncovering new and different twists?

Charlotte Frost: More a matter of what I hoped not to find. Had I discovered that Knighton had done something truly shameful I would have had to include it. That’s why I hesitated about contacting Knighton’s descendants. I didn’t want to be welcomed into their homes or be given copies of private family documents, only to publish a damning account of their forebear. And finding a dark, sinister side to Knighton would have wrecked my wonderful Word master plan for a sympathetic biography!

Q: In researching the career of Knighton, was there a particular question or historical conundrum you hoped to answer? Did the answer appear?

CF: I failed to identify why Knighton was sceptical about some of the medical education he received in London. New medical ideas were evolving in France, but I don’t know whether he was exposed to them.

Q: Was there any surprise in what you found out about Knighton, his career, his biography, his family?

CF: I was taken aback by discrepancies between the Memoir’s account of Knighton’s early years and the account suggested in primary sources. The explanation perhaps died with those who knew it, or it may survive in oblique references yet to be discovered.

Q: What about the period interested you the most?

CF: It was a gentler era than those that preceded it. When Knighton was accused of corruption he was satirised in a cartoon, not put on the rack. The cruellest forms of execution became unacceptable, and were abolished. Injustices still thrived, but they began to be seen for what they were.

Q: Where there other characters — those people whom Knighton knew or encountered — whom you wished to spend more time on?

CF: Knighton’s dealings with the poets and radicals in the 1810s needs more attention. Timely journal article seeks author!

Q: You list many books in your bibliography; was there any one or two books that you particularly would recommend to students of the period?

CF: For all its difficulties, I recommend the Memoir. The universal financial insecurity of the age is reflected in pleas for Knighton’s intervention from educated men too ill or old to continue their professions. His Seymour in-laws experienced the same difficulties as every naval family. Knighton was not the only man of his era to examine his soul in the light of Evangelical preaching. And his contempt for and alarm at popular protest is that of a generation that grew up in fear of revolution.

Q: The nature of primary research means that we find what still exists; is there any item(s) you wanted to find, or had hoped still existed?

CF: An unfinished portrait of Knighton’s wife, Dorothea, by Sir Thomas Lawrence. And miniatures of Knighton, Dorothea and their daughter that Knighton commissioned before he went to Spain.

Q: Have you any stories to pass along about doing primary research? (Gaining access to archives? transcriptions? old and fragile items? etc)

CF: I have some wonderful memories of research, but I’m haunted by the time, money and energy I’ve wasted. Reading a London street directory on microfilm, I mistook Knighton’s first London address for No 23 Argyll Street. Only after several years in search of corroborative evidence did I discover from a printed directory that he lived at No 28, which I was immediately able to confirm. I made numerous visits to The National Archives for information that was held at the Royal College of Surgeons, and I pestered the British Library for a copy of a print held at the British Museum.

Q: How did your family handle “living with the Knightons”?

CF: My significant other refers to Knighton as ‘the other man’, and is relieved to see him in print.

Q: Please describe for our readers former projects; future projects.

A: I have been a late learner, not taking my first degree until I was thirty, and not rediscovering a childhood love of history until I was in my forties. Until now my historical output has been researching and reporting in response to community history requests, giving occasional talks and submitting work for academic assessment. If I had to put a label on myself, I’d say ‘independent researcher’ but not ‘independent scholar’. My biography of Knighton marks my transition to author — someone who has found her voice. I don’t rule out further academically assessed study, but at present I feel ‘essayed out’. I want to do my own work, not what other people think I should do. But to stay fresh and sharp I need to keep in touch with academic life. I can’t bask in a post-publication comfort bubble.

I’ve started investigating loans that the Prince of Wales and his brothers incurred in a few short years in the late 1780s-early 1790s. Not biography, but the story behind each loan – who were the lenders, did they get their money back and, if not, how did they cope? I don’t yet know whether I’m revealing a gripping tale of suicide, assassination and missing diamonds, or wasting my time with two-hundred-year-old allegations that can be neither proved or disproved.

Find Sir William Knighton online:

 Charlotte Frost, Sir William Knighton: The Strange Career of a Regency Physician
info & purchase through Authors OnLine
the book’s page at Amazon.co.uk
Charlotte Frost’s author page at Amazon.co.uk

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In Conversation with Charlotte Frost

April 16, 2011 at 9:59 am (books, estates, news, people, places, portraits and paintings, research) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Writer Charlotte Frost, whose biography of Sir William Knighton, bart will be of interest to those desiring a good read about Regency-era England, is our guest. She’s talking about her book, her research experiences, and her interest in Knighton and his family. Join us!

Q: Is there a tale behind your interest in Sir William Knighton?

Charlotte Frost: Yes, but I’m afraid it’s not especially worthy or uplifting. I had never heard of Knighton until the then owners of his Blendworth home commissioned a new garden, and I was asked to help with research. We discovered that it was Knighton’s son who laid out the grounds but, in the process, I realised that much of what had been written about his father (‘my’ Knighton) was flawed. With just average care and attention I could do better. And, although Knighton had almost fallen out of history, in late Georgian England he was a man to be reckoned with. He was overdue for a new biography, and I wasn’t going to let him slip through my fingers.

Q: Have you a favorite “find” — something unusual, or satisfying — that you uncovered; something you wish you had uncovered?

CF: It was especially pleasing to find documents created before Knighton became famous, when no one had a motive to distort the information. As for information I wished I’d uncovered, we need to know more about Knighton’s wife, Dorothea. How did Knighton meet her? Did her family have reservations about him? Did she secretly yearn to be recognised as an artist? Do any more of her paintings survive?

Q: Readers tend to think books just happen; how long did your research take? how long the writing phase? the publishing phase?

CF: It was one thing to accumulate research but quite another to impose order on it, so I took an MA to acquire some academic backbone. After that I knew exactly what I wanted. I set out the whole book in note form in a Word table and just worked through it. As the manuscript neared completion I started submitting proposals and sample chapters, but after a few months I realised that if I wanted the book published, I would have to self publish. At first I was disappointed not to be accepted by a mainstream publisher, but now I’m delighted that things worked out as they did. My publishers, Authors OnLine, have treated me like royalty. Nothing has been too much trouble for them.

Q: Did you find the Knighton Memoir a help, a hindrance, a bit of both?

CF: The Memoir‘s chronology is misleading because the author — Dorothea, by then Knighton’s widow — was more interested in the contents of the letters she selected for publication than the dates on which they were written. And the Memoir is easy to criticise because it contains what Dorothea wanted us to know, not what we’d like to know. But once I realised that each letter was there for a reason, the Memoir became my invaluable friend.

Q: As a biographer, did you make a conscious choice to present Knighton’s story without resorting to a great deal of letter quotes (ie, from the Memoir)?

CF: Yes. This is a good read, not an academic text where I need to present evidence as though my life depended on it. On a very few occasions I have used Knighton’s own words because I could add nothing useful to them, but otherwise my job was to analyse the letters, not repeat them.

Q: As fellow writers, we both know you sometimes sacrifice sections for the good of the narrative; was there any story, observation, account that you wish you could have kept?

CF: I applied a ‘two strikes and you’re in’ rule. This meant that I omitted several deaths among Knighton’s extended family that had no bearing on the narrative, but included trivial items that had later consequences. Knighton and his family would rightly have considered my omissions a distortion, and been upset by them. I also omitted the Blendworth earthquake of 1834 which came at an especially bad time for Knighton and his family and troubled everyone in the vicinity, but which was irrelevant to the narrative. On a lighter note, I was sad to lose the tea kettle that Knighton received from his former tutor, the surgeon Astley Cooper.

Q: Were illustrations easy to track down?

CF: The illustrations in the book are mostly ones that I came across by chance, and which struck me as more succinct than any written descriptions I could come up with. I’m not good at working with images. I get sidetracked by notes on the back, and miss vital information in the image itself.

Q: What was it like to do research at the Royal Archives?

CF: A privilege, and unlike any other archive. Researchers have to be accompanied at all times — yes, even to the loo — which I envisaged would feel regimented, but in practice it meant that we joined the archivists for lunch and were included in their routine. We were all made welcome. I wonder who’s sitting at my little table now, and what they’re researching?

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We’ll leave Ms. Frost in the Royal Archives for now…

Part II will appear shortly. In the meantime, I invite you to read about her book, Sir William Knighton: The Strange Career of a Regency Physician. Also, search this blog for more on the book, Sir William, and how he relates to the Smiths & Goslings.

We invite reader participation! Feel free to post your own questions or comments for Charlotte Frost here.

NB: this was part 1; click here for part 2

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Sir William Knighton at Carlton House

April 13, 2011 at 9:16 pm (books, news, people) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

In “conversation” with author CHARLOTTE FROST, whose biography on Sir William Knighton is on bookstore shelves now, she wrote the following comment about Mrs Gosling’s ball:

“No Sir William and Lady Knighton at Mrs Gosling’s Ball! Knighton was once spotted at the Children’s Ball at Carlton House, but unaccompanied by any of his children.”

The one caveat I might have — given that the guests numbered over 200 persons and the newspaper reported so few of those guests — is, if Sir William and Lady Knighton were in town that May of 1816 I wouldn’t wonder that they were present. Why? The Goslings had their own “royal” connections. But, for now, we can only surmise…

To get back to Charlotte Frost—

Searching for Sir William information, I came across this little tidbit:

9th December Friends of Havant Museum

5 months ago on The Mayor of Havant
Tonight I had been invited to the Friends of Havant Museum Christmas Meeting at The Spring. As the Mayor of Havant I automatically become a Patron for my Mayoral Year. There was a very interesting speaker Miss Charlotte Frost who gave a talk entitled A courtier’s virtuous retirement; Sir William Knighton at Blendworth 1820-1836.
 
Lucky were those in the audience that evening!
 
And lucky will be readers of Two Teens in the Time of Austen: We’ll be “in conversation” with Ms. Frost in my next posting! In the meantime, take a look at her new biography: Sir William Knighton: The strange Career of a Regency Physician.
 
You can obtain a copy through authorsonline (1) e-book or (2) paperback; also available via Amazon.co.uk. If you like to support independent booksellers, why not order through my favorite in Nantwich, England: Nantwich Bookshop!

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